Working Poor Families Project members were excited to discuss Colorado’s efforts toward strengthening the early childhood education workforce as part of a larger conversation about early childhood education. In the next ten years, Colorado will see a 33 to 43 percent increase in the need for early childhood teachers and leaders. It is crucial that our state focus on issues such as provider wages, recruitment and retention, education, and professional development in order to prepare our state for the demand.
The Bell provided insights and information about the goals outlined in the newly approved Colorado Early Childhood Workforce 2020 Plan. The group was especially interested in our state’s ideas and strategies for improving compensation, recruitment and retention for educators and caregivers who work with young children. Later this summer, new research will be released that will give critical guidance to the policy solutions that will work best for our state. We’ll learn from a statewide childcare providers survey from economic analysis that assesses the impact that the early childhood workforce has on local economies. The effort is spearheaded through a partnership between the Colorado Department of Human Services, the Colorado Department of Education, Early Milestones Colorado, and many other community groups, with support from Gary Community Investments and the Buell Foundation. Stayed tuned for more about what the studies reveal and where we need to go from here.